A soup kitchen isn’t about soup. It’s a British term for a place which provides free food to the needy.
The Soup Kitchen is hosted by the All India Bhikku Sangha, in their headquarters, across the road from the Sujata Tourist Complex. Kagyu Monlam staff and the Kagyupa International Monlam Trust work in co-operation with a UK charity, the Hart Knowe Trust, to provide a nutritious meal for the people in Bodhgaya each lunchtime during the Monlam.
Indian staff are hired to cook the food but it is prepared and served by a group of international volunteers.
1. Escorted by Drupon Dechen Rinpoche, Mingyur Rinpoche crosses from the Medical Camp to the Soup Kitchen, with Kagyu Monlam CEO Lama Chodrak, Vin and Marilyn Harris of Hart Knowe Trust and Lhakpa Tsering.
2. In discussion with Bikkhu Pragya Deep, head of the All India Bhikku Sangha.
3. Bikkhu Pragya Deep hosts the Soup Kitchen every year.
4. Mingyur Rinpoche visits the kitchens where Indian cooks prepare the food traditionally over fire pits.
5. Paying homage at the golden Buddha in the grounds.
6. Rinpoche leads blessing prayers.
7. Rinpoche helps serve the food.
8. Carefully placing segments of orange on the plate of this cycle rickshaw wallah.
9. Many of the men at the kitchen are rickshaw wallahs. Engaged in hard physical labour all day, they burn many calories but earn very low wages, so most are malnourished. Not only do they often look much older than they are, but many do not live much beyond 40.
10. Rinpoche asked to sample the food- rice, dal and curried vegetables.
11. Served on a compostable banana leaf plate .
12. A photo opportunity for the volunteers.
13. Joyful Mingyur Rinpoche.